Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt feels his side are "getting better and better" as they prepare to welcome Mainz to the BayArena this Saturday.
While acknowledging that he would have preferred his team to be higher than their current fifth place in the Bundesliga, he is convinced they will rise the standings in due course having seen plenty of positive signs.
Tuesday's 2-1 win over Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League was the latest of those, and Schmidt now hopes the next will follow in the Bundesliga.
"We're still in the DFB-Pokal, we're well placed in the Champions League and we've got 16 points in the league," said Schmidt.
"We could have had one or two more points in the league, but I can accept it the way it is because things are heading in the right direction.
"We are getting better and better."
Schmidt sees the same development in striker Stefan Kiessling, who scored 16, 25 and 15 goals in his last three Bundesliga seasons, but is currently stuck on one solitary strike this term.
"I'm sure he'll end the season with his usual quota of goals," said Schmidt at a press conference. "Of course you could say that he's not scored many yet, but Stefan remains incredibly important for us.
"He works and runs so much for the team, winning lots of balls and getting his team-mates into good positions.
"Maybe he's not being put into enough space often enough and we still need to work on that."
One man finding enough space and enough goals, on the other hand, is Mainz dangerman Shinji Okazaki.
The Japanese forward is the league's joint top-scorer with six goals from nine games, although Mainz coach Kasper Hjulmand insists his side is about more than just the 28-year-old.
"We've got good quality in our defence too, and we've picked up plenty of points for our good defensive play," he said.
"It's always about the whole team. We're trying to give it our best with plenty of energy, and the results come when we do it well."
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